Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2
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  1. #1
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    Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    Part 2 deals with fillet welds on T-joints.
    As was pointed out, laying down weld beads is not the same as welding two pieces of metal together.

    Part 1 was a necessary prequel to Part 2. Running weld beads on flat plate was very useful for acclimatization- gaining experience with the various brands and sizes of these fast burning aluminum electrodes. I was able to ‘tune in’ on electrode characteristics such as the best amperage, tilt angle, travel speed, techniques for starting and maintaining the short arc, etc.

    Onto Fillet Welds...
    Here’s the set up I used for welding these first fillet welds on T-joints in the flat (1F) position.
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    I’m testing a variety of stick arc welding aluminum electrodes of 1/8 and 3/32 inch diameter, and just a few smaller 5/64th electrodes.

    The test pieces (coupons) were of thickness of 1/16, 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 inch. Dimensions were typically 6 x 1.5 inch base plate and 6 x 3/4 inch vertical plate on the 1/16 and 1/8 thick coupons and somewhat larger dimensions for the 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick coupons.

    Here is a photo of the transformer-based welder used in most of these tests. The meter displays actual amps of current during welding. I used a video camera to record a close up view of the meter and amperage scale during welding; the camera also records the events during welding (starts, restarts, welding duration, etc.) as well as my comments at the time of welding. All electrodes were run DC+ (electrode positive, reverse polarity) as recommended by their manufacturers. I was welding near the maximum recommended amperage for these electrodes, typically 120 amps for 1/8 inch and 85 amps for 3/32 inch.
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    1/4 inch Thick T-Joint

    Here are some fillet welds across 6 inches of aluminum plate 1/4 inch thick.
    First an illustration and a word or two on removing the rather tenacious flux/slag from the weld area.
    Name:  3 F1 Flux Clean.jpg
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    Continued in the next post...
    Rick V

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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    Here’s the first two fillet welds... made with 1/8 inch electrodes.
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    Here’s the second two fillet welds... made with 1/8 inch electrodes.
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    Here’s the third of two fillet welds... made with 3/32 inch electrodes.
    Name:  6 F5 F4 Weld.jpg
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    Summary of Results: 1/4 inch thick aluminum fillet welds, T-joint configuration in flat (1F) position

    Name:  7 F1-F6 Weld.jpg
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    F1 – 1/8” electrode, 125 amps, fast stringer... not enough heat input = cold looking weld
    F2 - 1/8” electrode, 120 amps, slow weave...good heat input = good looking weld, some undercut on vertical plate for the last half of the weld
    F3 - 1/8” electrode, 120 amps, slow stringer...fair heat input = fair looking weld, somewhat lumpy
    F4 - 1/8” electrode, 120 amps, slow circles...good heat input = good looking weld, slight undercut on vertical plate for the last half of the weld
    F5 – 3/32” electrode, 85 amps, slow stringer...not enough heat input = cold looking weld, some areas of fusion on the vertical plate only
    F6 – 3/32” electrode, 87 amps, slow circles...fair heat input = fair looking weld, good tie in at toes

    Comments & Suggestions...?
    Rick V

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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    try pausing at the top of the bead with each circle or weave and feeding the rod at the same time. also angle rod more toward the vertical plate. will help with undercut. try this on steel first as its easier and more time to work with the puddle.
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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    I got to give you this Rick, you do a great job of thoroughly laying out and describing alot of the variables of what your doing in detail. I have personally never stick welded aluminum so i have have nothing to add to this. Now you know some people (Sundown) are going to come on here and bash everything you just did but ignore him and just keep doing what your doing. Great job, keep up the good work
    "If this is the mens department then where are the Kilts?

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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by soutthpaw View Post
    try pausing at the top of the bead with each circle or weave and feeding the rod at the same time.
    Thanks DJ, I'll give that a try.

    1/8 inch electrode at 120 amps and a slow travel stringer bead was not too bad on the 1/4 inch thick material. But with the smaller 3/32 electrode at 85 amps, a stringer bead didn't put enough heat into the weld (it just piled up metal in the center and didn't wet into the edges well) and I had to try a weave/circle, etc. of some sort. Any more suggestions?

    When I move to the 1/2 inch thick material, at room temperature, a weave of some sort is definetly going to be needed with 1/8 electrode at 120 amps to get enough heat into the weld. In the past, I was only able to make a decent weld by preheating the T-joint to about 200 F.

    When I move to the 1/8 thick material at room temperature, I think 3/32 electrode at 85 amps will perform well with a stringer bead. Likely the 1/8 electrode at 120 amps will have to be a 'travel fast' stringer to avoid burn through; I may have to drop the amperage.

    When I move to the 1/16 inch thick material, I think 1/8 electrode is completely unsuitable, so too may be the 3/32 unless it's possible to run a very 'travel fast' stringer to avoid burn through. I'm hoping the 5/64 electrode at 40 - 50 amps may be successful - but it will be like welding with a flexible noddle.

    I had planned to do 1/8 inch thick T-joints today but being a cold-blooded Canadian, I can't handle today's weather - Temperature 97F and Humidity 49%!
    Rick V

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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    1/8 inch Thick T-Joints

    Flux/Slag was difficult to remove from all the welds made on the 1/8 inch thick T-joints. Wire brush didn’t touch it, pick didn’t touch it and room temp water application didn’t help either. I was necessary to submerge the coupon(s) in hot water, let it soak for 5 to 10 minutes before removing the softened flux by scrubbing with a fiber brush.

    Here is the set-up used hold the two pieces of the T-joint in position for welding.
    Name:  8 Set UP 1-8 T-Joints.jpg
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    3/32 inch Electrodes
    Here are the results of using 3/32 inch aluminum electrodes to weld 1/8 inch thick aluminum T-joints.
    Name:  9 3-32 F7-8 90F 85A Harris July 22 2011.jpg
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    On fillet weld F7 I put much of the weld deposit on the vertical plate instead of being centered between the vertical and horizontal plates. Compared to fillet weld F7, fillet weld F8 had a lot more heat in it and more weld metal deposited (2.25 inches more electrode). The <<< marks on the weld suggest that I had more tilt angle than 10 degrees. Except for the start and end, fillet weld F8 looks pretty good.


    Name:  10 3-32 F9-10 90F 85A BlueS July 22 2011.jpg
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    Fillet weld F9, a simple stringer bead, looks pretty good, certainly better than F10 with ‘my’ weave.

    Trying to lay down a decent bead; I think a slow stringer with no weaving or whipping works best for me. I’ll keep my eyes focused, as best I can, on the weld pool as I move along. I’ll try and use most the electrode.


    Name:  11 3-32 F11-12 90F 88A BlueS-Harris July 22 2011.jpg
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    Fillet weld F11 laid down pretty good. I used more whip for the first few inches then after I almost burned through, I used a lot less whip and you can see this written into the pattern of the weld.
    Fillet weld F12: Obviously at the beginning I was going a bit slow, burned through and then was kind of messed up by that and didn’t recover for a few inches. The electrode was more vertical at the time I blew through. So I’d be better off with more tilt angel... of course I am running at full amperage for this electrode.

    I decided to reduce the amperage on the 3/32 electrodes – from 80 amps to 70 amps... and try again. Unfortunately dropping 10 amps on the scale didn't decrease the real welding amps that expected 10 amps.


    Name:  12 3-32 F13-14 90F 80A Harris-BlueS July 22 2011.jpg
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    Fillet weld F13 is a pretty good looking weld – for aluminum.
    On fillet weld F14 I had more rod left over... the weld is ‘cold’ looking.

    Continued on next post...
    Rick V

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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    1/8 inch Electrodes
    Here are the results of using 1/8 inch aluminum electrodes to weld 1/8 inch thick aluminum T-joints.

    Name:  13 1-8 F15-16 90F 90A Forney July 22 2011.jpg
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    Learning a lesson from F15, I went a lot slower on F16 and deposited a fair looking weld.


    Name:  14 1-8 F17-18 90F 92A Hobart July 22 2011.jpg
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    Fillet weld F17 went pretty good. I felt that I was about to burn through at any moment but I didn’t and the weld was not too bad. When I tried F18, I don’t know what happened (I burned an inch less of electrode) but it’s definitely not as good as F17.

    Overview – Here are all the 1/8 inch thick T-joint coupons and their fillet welds.
    First one side.
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    Then the other side.
    Name:  16 All even 1-8th T-Joints.jpg
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    What’s it all mean?
    Aluminum electrodes, either 3/32 inch @ 80 amps or 1/8 inch @ 90 amps can be used to make decent fillet welds on 1/8 inch- thick aluminum T-joints.

    Using these aluminum electrodes takes some getting used to. They act like very-rapid burning fast freeze electrodes (e.g. 6010) but performed better for me without any whip or weave.

    These stick welds may not look as pretty as those produced by MIG or TIG but they are solid.
    Rick V

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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    Whats the preheat ? and why arent you preheating these items if you didnt. Decent has alot of interpretations my next cause for concern is what are you using to prep the plates ss wire brush ? alcohol?
    I forgot how to change this.

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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by LawsonWeldingLLC View Post
    Whats the preheat ? and why arent you preheating these items if you didnt. Decent has alot of interpretations my next cause for concern is what are you using to prep the plates ss wire brush ? alcohol?
    All the welds shown to date in this thread (Part 2) were made at room temperature (84 - 96 F) - no preheat.
    Why should I use preheat? I have no objection to preheat and have used preheat in earlier threads.
    However, as member soutthpaw pointed out previously, many folks don't want to fuss with preheat. The expected user of aluminum stick electrodes is likely not the professional welder - who has access to other superior aluminum-welding processes such as Spool-Gun MIG or AC-TIG. These aluminum stick arc welding electrodes are marketed for maintanance and repair and the most likely user is the home repair man or farmer who just wants to repair a broken item - like say a lawn mower deck. For those users, if a weld can be made without preheat, they would much prefer that. So the answer to your question is that I am not using preheat because most users of these aluminum stick electrodes will not be using preheat either.

    On thicker aluminum, such as 1/2 inch T-joints, preheat in the range of 200 to 250 F will likely be required because the average home repair man / farmer owns a welder with a maximum output of ~125 amps DC. In that case, he will likely be limited to using 1/8 inch electrodes at ~125 amps.

    The plates surfaces to be welded were prepared by wet sanding. The residue was removed by washing with water. The plates were then air dried.
    Rick V

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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    well u answered your own question on why you have no idea what your doing 1/2'' or not i can weld that same joint with the same machine just because i have 600 amps on my tig welder does not mean i go buy a 3/16 rod to fill that fillet in one pass, aluminum soaks up water for one , wet sanding causes the oxidization your trying to remove to be imbedded into the aluminum for two, and for three if you want to show people how to do a proper weld- preheat on aluminum is a necessity to remove the hydrogen from the parent metal as aluminum has a problem with hydrogen entrapment, embrittlement and porosity will form all throught the beat, home repair man or farmer or expert welder , truth be told there is a rite way to do things and a half *** , wanna do it twice ?
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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    Rick,

    Your hardheadedness is getting in the way of your common sense.

    You've burned a lot of aluminum rod, and destroyed a bunch of perfectly good aluminum and have not yet produced an acceptable "weld".

    Your time, money, and energy would surely be better spent learning to arc weld steel properly.

    You keep rambling on about "farmer's welds". Exactly what is it you think that a farmer is going to weld that is aluminum? Personally, I haven't seen many aluminum farm implements around.

    Personally, I just hate to see birdsh!t after birdsh!t beads. What have we proved? That one brand of electrode produces a "slightly" less sh!tty weld than the next electrode?
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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    Well I checked out your claims of hydrogen entrapment, embrittlement & porosity and especially the one, "aluminum soaks up water".
    Turns out you were.... Right! - on all counts!
    From the site: http://www.esabna.com/us/en/educatio...356-alloys.cfm

    Porosity problems with 5086-5356 alloys
    When the aluminum oxide is exposed to moisture, potential problems with porosity arise. The aluminum oxide layer is porous and can absorb moisture, grow in thickness, and become a major problem when attempting to produce welds that are required to be relatively porosity free.


    So I will change my metal preparation - going for stainless-steel-wire brushing followed by an alcohol wipe down. That's a bonus because it will take less time. I'll also do a brief preheat to ~250 F to get rid of any moisture that may be present. At that point, what do you recommend - weld when 'hot' or return the material to room temperature and weld?

    Thanks for setting me straight.
    Rick V

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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    process , alcohol to remove oils grease contaminents , preheat, wire brush , weld , the soak will have cooled somewhat but it will still help alot with the welding and it will weld alot different, you may have to back down amperage some , come monday i will get some 4043 rod from airgas and do some plates if i have time , apologize for posting a arrogant comment , just want to see people produce acceptable welds instead of doing things half way and toulene is a better chemical cleaner than alcohol btw , reason i say alcohol everyone has it in there cabinet , do not use a grinder with a wire wheel to clean the aluminum at all period ! as soon as you touch the aluminum with the wheel it will look cleaned up but it will instantly coat it with more oxides than you originally had to begin with. I hope it helps somewhat
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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    Show how much money have you wasted to date on your experiment? I know your intent was show the possible usefulness of stick welding on Al but with your lack on knowledge it has really become a thread(s) of misinformation. Unfortunately you have some that are believers in what you are doing and now the damage is done .

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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    in other words all the more reason for people to learn from the mistakes and take the information and use it to there benefit , The best way to learn is through trial and error.
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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    dude, YOU HAVE A HOLE IN YOUR TEST PIECE !!!
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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by LawsonWeldingLLC View Post
    process , alcohol to remove oils grease contaminents , preheat, wire brush , weld , the soak will have cooled somewhat but it will still help alot with the welding and it will weld alot different, you may have to back down amperage some
    Thanks that process is quite helpful. Yes, I've experienced the amperage backdown.

    Quote Originally Posted by LawsonWeldingLLC View Post
    come monday i will get some 4043 rod from airgas and do some plates if i have time
    That would be a good for comparison purposes.

    Quote Originally Posted by LawsonWeldingLLC View Post
    apologize for posting a arrogant comment , just want to see people produce acceptable welds instead of doing things half way
    That's OK, getting it right is important; I appreciate your helpful coments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay O View Post
    Show how much money have you wasted to date on your experiment?
    I don''t release financial information. Your question is misleading as in, "How did you make out on that rape charge?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay O View Post
    ... with your lack on knowledge it has really become a thread(s) of misinformation.
    Only a more knowledgeable person should comment on someone else's "lack on knowledge". Are you more knowledgeable person on stick-welding aluminum? Why then Jay O, consider investing $15 in some 4043 stick electrodes and then show us your aluminum stick welds, demonstate your superior knowledge on the subject - correct this thread of misinformation, undo the damage. Come on - "Walk The Talk".

    There are many complaints here yet nobody stepping up to show or demonstrate the proper procedure... except soutthpaw and maybe now Lawson.
    Hey folks, this is great entertainment. For about the the same price as movie ticket, you could buy a 1/2 lb of aluminum electrodes, lay down some metal and become a leading actor in this thread. Yes, you could become 'The Star' by laying down an aluminum stick weld that's as smooth as a baby's bum.

    Quote Originally Posted by LawsonWeldingLLC View Post
    in other words all the more reason for people to learn from the mistakes and take the information and use it to there benefit , The best way to learn is through trial and error.
    Well, it may not be the best way... but I couldn't find sufficient information 'out there' to satisfy me - that's the reason I am doing this myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donoharm View Post
    dude, YOU HAVE A HOLE IN YOUR TEST PIECE !!!
    Yeah, that's where Sundown took his latest shot at me!
    Last edited by Rick V; 07-23-2011 at 05:40 AM. Reason: over looked to include someone
    Rick V

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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    I for one has found this interesting. Thanks
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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    Actually a more knowledgeable person realizes there are there are other processes that are much better for welding Al then with stick. I stated before that stick would be considered the option of last resort.

    You do have me at the fact that I've never attempted to stick Al and I never will, but I do have you at fact that my stick skills will out shine yours. Fortunately I do have a AC/DC tig machine, so I do "Walk The Talk " and I'm will to put the money and time where it matters. If you want this to be a battle of who is the best Al stick weld, I will conceed and give you the victory. In fact if you want I'll make you a championship belt .

    Your knowledge as to how you proceed on your thread is great but on how you proceed on doing your welding and weld prep is lacking. Once again you do have some great attributes on how you attack a welding thread and if you applied those to further developing your welding skills you would take a step back and see why some look at things differently.

    Wet sand Al to clean it, really? When talking classes and they discussed how to clean various materials and to have seperate discs for diff materials "wetsanding" was never mentioned. I also took it as that what ever prep method was dictated by the material and not the process. It also seems that you do not understand the idea of preheat.

    The "misinformation" comes from the fact that there are people that come and visit these forums but don't spend the necessary time on research and will only take a snap shot of the info. They may see some post and not read them completely and take that info as gospel and that is where the damage gets done. True we do alot of our learning by trial and error but sometime we have to look and see if our trials are worth it.

    Yes this has been an entertaining thread "For about the same price as a movie ticket" people save your money. There will be no break out performances, no sudden twist in story line, just that there will be no good ending and you should have gone to see the new Harry Potter movie.

    "Well, it may not be the best way... but I couldn't find sufficient information 'out there' to satisfy me - that's the reason I am doing this myself." For as long as stick welding has been around I wonder why you had trouble find info?

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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    Ok, I just got my Powcon 400SMT fully operational last night, found the board that was defective causing the Display current preset not to display and swapped it out with the other 3 phase only unit and now works great.. That said, the beads I ran are the first time I have used this welder at all.. so that is definitely a variable in doing these beads. Anyway I used the Messer 3/32 rods I got from Praxair a few days ago $15 for 1/2lb so reasonably priced. They call for 40-75 amps. I started in the middle at 57 amps. Nice that the Powcon shows exact preset and welding amps. am using some 1/4" plate flat position,that I did a quick clean with stainless steel knotted wire brush on grinder. Cooled plate once about 1/2 way through so preheat was just from the previous rods ran heating the plate.The welds were from right to left in the picture. Guess which one is the 57 amp? yeah the bird poop one on the right that looks like Rick's weld bumped up to 75 and played around at + or -5amps for the right half of the board. also played with the arc force which I set and left 1/2 way through at 5 which basically eliminates its function being 1/2 way between soft and hard. The owners manual shows that setting does not modify the arc at all.
    The left half of the plate was all done at 85amps which this is 10 amps above the range which shows that the recommendations from the manufacturer are only a guideline. Also the thicker plate probably is the reason the small diameter rod needed the extra amps. I found I liked a weave better than a stringer and the 3/32 rod was pretty controllable once I got used to it. speed of travel could be varied a lot which in the pics you see it produced varying bead profiles and lengths. pretty much all of those beads were a full length of rod.
    I agree with Rick about the bendyness of the 3/32" rod but by the end of my trials I was not even noticing it as an issue. Again its just burning some rod and getting used to its feel.

    I was getting full penetration , you can see a couple of spots where it overpenetrated. flipped the plate over so top is now bottom on the backside pic but stll same right to left orientation.

    Several of the beads on the left side are what I would say are acceptable and quality welds that will hold in their intended applications without worry. I could definitely improve the bead profile with more hood time using these rods.. I did like the wider slow weave at the bottom which u see used about twice the rod (only being about 1/2 the length of the other beads)

    Rod arc length is critical with these Al electrodes. I found 1/8 or less was best and much above that and it will just wash out the puddle. I would guess about a 1/16" was working well for me. like dripping molten Al onto a surface. you get no bead profile Just a flat puddle.

    The slag came off easily with just light taps with the chipping hammer when the amperage was correct and a good bead being run. the slower travel made thicker slag which came off easier than the thin slag on the faster stringer beads.

    I did have the hot start at 1/3rd way up, you do have to start the arc like u mean it though. they do like to stick when starting. If it sticks, give it a couple seconds and then break it off. give the tip of the rod a quick clean and the now hot rod will start easier

    To summarize, They do work and basically require some hood time to practice with and get the hang off them. I would say buy a 1/2lb to 1lb for practice before planning to run them on an I actual repair/ weld. definitely worth keeping around for that quick Al repair around the house/ farm. They deposit a lot of metal so great for build-up applications too, Filling stripped holes etc.

    I have satisfied my curiosity. Doubt I'll mess with the Al rods much more. don't see a real need to run Fillet welds as I know they will be very similar in technique and feel to what I have done below. I don' think there is a huge difference between any of the rod brands. for the price I am happy with the results of the Messer rods.





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  21. #21
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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay O View Post
    Actually a more knowledgeable person realizes there are there are other processes that are much better for welding Al then with stick. I stated before that stick would be considered the option of last resort.

    You do have me at the fact that I've never attempted to stick Al and I never will, but I do have you at fact that my stick skills will out shine yours. Fortunately I do have a AC/DC tig machine, so I do "Walk The Talk " and I'm will to put the money and time where it matters. If you want this to be a battle of who is the best Al stick weld, I will conceed and give you the victory. In fact if you want I'll make you a championship belt .

    Your knowledge as to how you proceed on your thread is great but on how you proceed on doing your welding and weld prep is lacking. Once again you do have some great attributes on how you attack a welding thread and if you applied those to further developing your welding skills you would take a step back and see why some look at things differently.

    Wet sand Al to clean it, really? When talking classes and they discussed how to clean various materials and to have seperate discs for diff materials "wetsanding" was never mentioned. I also took it as that what ever prep method was dictated by the material and not the process. It also seems that you do not understand the idea of preheat.


    The "misinformation" comes from the fact that there are people that come and visit these forums but don't spend the necessary time on research and will only take a snap shot of the info. They may see some post and not read them completely and take that info as gospel and that is where the damage gets done. True we do alot of our learning by trial and error but sometime we have to look and see if our trials are worth it.

    Yes this has been an entertaining thread "For about the same price as a movie ticket" people save your money. There will be no break out performances, no sudden twist in story line, just that there will be no good ending and you should have gone to see the new Harry Potter movie.

    "Well, it may not be the best way... but I couldn't find sufficient information 'out there' to satisfy me - that's the reason I am doing this myself." For as long as stick welding has been around I wonder why you had trouble find info?
    I certainly don't think you need to fault Rick for other people's lack of research or only taking a snapshop of what they read on a forum. They are then the Stupid ones who need to get a clue. I do agree about the cleaning method. Sandpaper or most grinding wheels are made with some type of aluminum oxide which is exactly what you want to get rid of, not deposit onto the metal. not sure why Rick is not just stainless steel wire brushing it. which would be the most practical for the applications these rods would probably be used in. Oh I did see the Harry Potter movie yesterday, Thought it was pertty good but more predictable than the previous ones... there wasn't really any surprise twists to it.

    As for finding info, The use of Al SMAW rods is pretty uncommon for reasons already covered. So I think this has been an interesting thread with some good points and information in it....

    Oh I think Rick should be at a point by now where he could pick up any of these rods, dial in the machine pretty close, run a few beads to get the settings and be off and running on his Al welding repair. His machine does have the infinite adjustment for current which is good, the Lincoln Buzzbox or other tapped style machine may be much tougher due to small 5-10 amp changes making a significant difference in how these rods run. I think the machine probably plays a significant part in how well one would be able to get these rods to run. I may try a few rods on my Airco transformer machine when I get back to CO with the same settings I used on the Inverter and see if there is a different feel or quality to the way the rods run. thus the only difference would then be the welding power source. I fear maybe Rick got a bit carried away with some of his statistics and sheer number of different weld settings.
    Hopefully I have at least shown that it can be a relatively simple process. vertical or near to it rod angle, drag movements, start at the top end of the recommended range in current unless metal is thin and adjust as needed. travel speed with a weave of some sort can be about the same or a bit faster than steel. arc length is critical and shortest possible works best. use standard cleaning methods for Aluminum...
    Last edited by soutthpaw; 07-23-2011 at 04:36 PM.
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  22. #22
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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    Want to weld aluminum?

    Buy a freaking tig machine or buy a spoolgun for the mig.


    The reason you "don't see more written" about stick welding aluminum, is the pro's know it's a second rate welding process.

    I have yet to see a bead (from any poster) that I would call "acceptable". Yea, and blowing a hole in your base metal always results in a "strong weld". LMAO.

    I guess some people still feel the need to stick their hand in the fire, even though they've been told it's hot and they'll get burned.

    Both the "pro aluminum stick welders" would be better served learning to stick weld properly on steel rather than futzing around with aluminum.
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  23. #23
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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    I do have a spool gun and a tig setup... also have my wrist and forearm in a brace at the moment do to injury so not that easy to manipulate a stinger. I enjoyed trying this out but personally would not use it for Aluminum as, like you I have better ways available to me for that. Oh, If you are referring to my, I never claimed to be a "pro" at anything welding. esp Aluminum..
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  24. #24
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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by SundownIII View Post
    Want to weld aluminum?

    Buy a freaking tig machine or buy a spoolgun for the mig.

    The reason you "don't see more written" about stick welding aluminum, is the pro's know it's a second rate welding process...
    Yep simply buying a better machine is always the best answer. It does not matter if your family has to do without something they truly need just so a backyard hobbyist could use the absolute best method available to weld that aluminum brace back onto their patio grass grill. Heck if you can not afford it just borrow the money to boot or simply use some of the mortage payment money to buy that better welder so you now have the best. Banks are very understanding and realize that I needed the best welder available instead of making my mortage payment. Plus I will already have this best welder available for when I need it again in 6 or 7 years years and it will still look like new because I have not used it at all as no other unexpected needs popped up.

    Well back to seriousness now: I have followed this thread from the beginning and have yet to see any claims from the primary contributers claiming stick welding to be a preferred method to weld aluminum. To the contrary, It has been solely targeted at backyard hobbyist for use on non-critical welding only.

    Even 2nd rate repairs are sometimes better than 3rd and 4th rate repairs like baling wire or pop rivots which I have had to use on occasion. Nothing wrong with wire and pop rivots, but there are times when you can not use them. Stick arc will give me something else that I can use for certain applications - again on non crticial repairs and the cost is nil.

    Keep up the good work Rick and Southpaw.
    Last edited by rankrank1; 07-24-2011 at 12:38 PM.

  25. #25
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    Re: Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2

    Buying a machine is almost never a cost effective way to do home repairs. It would be cheaper to have someone who knows what they are doing and has the right tools do the job, or simply replace it. Too many hobbyists want to "justify" their toys by trying to make them do things the machines simply can't do. My 71 Plymouth has the same motor and rears as full sized pickups ( probably heavier than many trucks today), but it's not the thing to take to go get 25 sheets of plywood. Trying to justify that rather than renting a truck is silly. Many times a process like this is the completely wrong thing to use. Rick's been doing all his work with thick or medium alum. Turn this loose on the bracket of a gas grill and you'll end up with a melted pile of garbage most likely. You'd have been better off with wire or bolts. In reality how many backyard repairs need to be done on alum thicker than 1/8"? Even most alum tool boxes made nowdays are thinner than 1/8". Blowing huge holes in something trying to "fix" it won't make it better.

    I understand the desire to be able to do as many things as possible while trying to stay on a buget. Been there done that. You have to face the reality that it simply doesn't work for many things. If it did, the pro's would be doing it daily. They don't spend big money on expensive machines just because they want to support Miller or Lincoln. They do so because to do the job, you need the right tools.

    I still have yet to see a "good" weld in any of these examples. A hobiest who lacks the skills to do basic welds will have a nightmare tryng to use a difficult rod to do even make shift repairs. All the desire in the world won't make up for the wrong equipment and the lack of skills.
    .



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